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Confucian Books (rujia lei 儒家類)

Jul 24, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

"Confucian books" (rujia lei 儒家類) is a subcategory in traditional Chinese bibliographies and part of the category of Masters and Philosophers (zibu 子部).

There are some ancient writings tending towards Confucianism or originating from a Confucian tradition that were not included in the Confucian Classics. The most important of these books are that of the Warring States-period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE) philosopher Xun Kuang 荀況 (Xunzi 荀子, 313-238) and the collections Kongzi jiayu 孔子家語 and Kongcongzi 孔叢子 that are seen as supplements to the Lunyu 論語 "Confucian Analects".

The subcategory "Confucian books" furthermore includes quite a few Han-period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) writings belonging to the Confucian tradition, like Lu Jia's 陸賈 (d. 170 BCE) Xinyu 新語, Jia Yi's 賈誼 (200-168) Xinshu 新書, Yang Xiong's 楊雄 揚雄 (53 BCE-18 CE) Fayan 法言 or Xun Yue's 荀悅 (148-209) Shenjian 申鑒.

Apart from these "classic works", the section includes the large corpus of the Song-period 宋 (960-1279) texts of Neo-Confucian writers. Routinely, philosophical books of the Yuan 元 (1279-1368) and Ming 明 (1368-1644) periods follow suit.

The sub-category of Confucian books in the descriptive catalogue Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目提要 lists and describes 112 texts that were eventually included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, and a further lot of 307 texts that were "existing" (cunmu 存目) but not included. They are arranged chronologically, without discerning certain types of texts. This would have been possible, for instance, with regard to books on education, family instruction (jiaxun 家訓), or texts on female education (nüjie 女誡).

A history of the development of the subcategory of "Confucian texts" can be found further below.

Table 1. Confucian Books (rujia 儒家)
Part of Siku quanshu 四庫全書
Part of Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書
世子 (殘) * Shizi (Zhou) 世碩 Shi Shuo
公孫尼子 (殘) * Gongsun Nizi (Zhou) 公孫尼 Gongsun Ni
漆雕子 (殘) * Qidiaozi (Zhou) 漆雕□ Qidiao N
徐子 (殘) * Xuzi (Zhou) 徐□ Xu N
甯子 (殘) * Ningzi (Zhou) 寧越 Ning Yue
景子 (殘) * Jingzi (Zhou) 景□ Jing N
虞氏春秋 (殘) * Yushi chunqiu (Zhou) 虞卿 Yu Qing
孔子家語 十卷 Kongzi jiayu (Wei) 王肅 Wang Su (comm.)
荀子 二十卷 Xunzi (Zhou) 荀況 Xun Kuang
孔叢子 三卷
(附) 連叢子
Kongcongzi
app. Liancongzi
(Han) 孔鮒 Kong Fu
新語 二卷 Xinyu (Han) 陸賈 Lu Jia
新書 十卷 Xinshu (Han) 賈誼 Jia Yi
鹽鐵論 十二卷 Yantielun (Han) 桓寬 Huan Kuan
說苑 二十卷 Shuoyuan (Han) 劉向 Liu Xiang
新序 十卷 Xinxu (Han) 劉向 Liu Xiang
列女傳 LienüzhuanBiographies (Han) 劉向 Liu Xiang
新論 * Xinlun (Han) 桓譚 Huan Tan
揚子法言 (法言) 十卷 Yangzi Fayan (Fayan) (Han) 揚雄 Yang Xiong; (Song) 司馬光 Sima Guang (comm.)
女誡 * Nüjie (Han) 班昭 Ban Zhao
女師箴 * Nüshizhen (Han) 皇甫規 Huangfu Gui
潛夫論 十卷 Qianfulun (Han) 王符 Wang Fu
申鑒 五卷 Shenjian (Han) 荀悅 Xun Yue
中論 二卷 Zhonglun (Han) 徐幹 Xu Gan
任子 (殘) * Renzi (Han) 任奕 Ren Yi
忠經 一卷 (續修) Zhongjing (Han) 馬融 Ma Rong (?)
昌言 (殘) * Changyan (Han) 仲長統 Zhong Zhangtong
周生子要論 (周生烈子) (殘) * Zhoushengzi yaolun (Zhousheng Liezi) (Wei) 周生烈 Zhousheng Lie
要覽 * Yaolan (Jin) 陸機 Lu Ji
傅子 一卷 Fuzi (Jin) 傅玄 Fu Xuan
物理論 * Wulilun (Jin) 楊泉 Yang Quan
干子 (殘) * Ganzi (Jin) 干寶 Gan Bao
崇有論 * Chongyoulun (Jin) 裴頠 Pei Wei
法訓 (譙周法訓) * Faxun (Qiao Zhou Faxun) (Jin) 譙周 Qiao Zhou
女史箴 * Nüshizhen (Jin) 張華 Zhang Hua
神滅論 * Shenmielun (Liang) 范縝 Fan Zhen
中說 十卷 Zhongshuo (Sui) 王通 Wang Tong (?)
帝範 四卷 Difan (Tang) 唐太宗 Emperor Taizong
續孟子 二卷 Xu Mengzi (Tang) 林慎思 Lin Shensi
伸蒙子 三卷 Shenmengzi (Tang) 林慎思 Lin Shensi
素履子 三卷 Sulüzi (Tang) 張弧 Zhang Hu
原道 * Yuandao (Tang) 韓愈 Han Yu
天對 * Tiandui (Tang) 柳宗元 Liu Zongyuan
天論 * Tianlun (Tang) 劉禹錫 Liu Yuxi
天說 * Tianshuo (Tang) 劉禹錫 Liu Yuxi
女孝經 * Nü xiaojing (Tang) 鄭氏 Ms Zheng
女論語 * Nü lunyu (Tang) 宋若莘 Song Ruoxin, 宋若昭 Song Ruozhao
女則 * Nüze (Tang) 長孫皇后 Empress Zhangsun
家範 十卷 Jiafan (Song) 司馬光 Sima Guang
帝學 八卷 Dixue (Song) 范祖禹 Fan Zuyu
太極圖說 * Taiji tushuo (Song) 周敦頤 Zhou Dunyi
通書 * Tongshu (Song) 周敦頤 Zhou Dunyi
周子全書 Zhouzi quanshu (Song) 周敦頤 Zhou Dunyi
西銘 * Ximing (Song) 張載 Zhang Zai
正蒙 * Zhengmeng (Song) 張載 Zhang Zai
放翁家訓 Fangweng jiaxun (Song) 陸游 Lu You
陸氏家規 (陸氏家制) 一卷 (續修) Lushi jiagui (Lushi jiazhi) (Song) 陸九韶 Lu Jiushao
漁樵問對 Yuqiao wendui (Song) 邵雍 Shao Yong
張子全書 十四卷 Zhangzi quanshu (Song) 張載 Zhang Zai
二程遺書 二十五卷 Er Cheng yishu (Song) 程顥 Cheng Yi, 程頤 Cheng Hao
二程外書 十二卷 Er Cheng waishu (Song) 程顥 Cheng Yi, 程頤 Cheng Hao
二程粹言 二卷 Er Cheng cuiyan (Song) 楊時 Yang Shi (comp.)
呂氏鄉約 (續修) Lüshi xiangyue (Song) 呂大忠 Lü Dazhong, 呂大鈞 Lü Dajun
童蒙訓 三卷 Tongmengxun (Song) 呂本中 Lü Benzhong
袁氏世範 三卷 Yuanshi shifan (Song) 袁采 Yuan Cai
近思錄 十四卷 Jinsilu (Song ) 朱熹 Zhu Xi, 呂祖謙 Lü Zuqian
伊洛淵源錄 Yi-Luo yuanyuan luBiographies (Song) 朱熹 Zhu Xi
(御定)小學集註 六卷 (Yuding) Xiaoxue jizhu (Song) 朱熹 Zhu Xi, (Ming) 陳選 Chen Xuan (comm.)
朱子語類 一百四十卷 Zhuzi yulei (Song) 朱熹 Zhu Xi
朱子遺書 Zhuzi yishu (Song) 朱熹 Zhu Xi
戒子通錄 八卷 Jiezi tonglu (Song) 劉清之 Liu Qingzhi
知言 六卷 Zhiyan (Song) 胡宏 Hu Hong
曾子全書 一卷 Zengzi quanshu (Song) 汪晫 Wang Zhuo
子思子全書 一卷 Zisizi quanshu (Song) 汪晫 Wang Zhuo
大學衍義 四十三卷 Daxue yanyi (Song) 真德秀 Zhen Dexiu
心經 一卷 Xinjing (Song) 真德秀 Zhen Dexiu
政經 一卷 Zhengjing (Song) 真德秀 Zhen Dexiu
項氏家說 十卷 Xiangshi jiashuo (Song) 項安世 Xiang Anshi
北溪字義 二卷 Beixi ziyi (Song) 陳淳 Chen Chun
東宮備覽 六卷 Donggong beilan (Song) 陳模 Chen Mo
孔子集語 三卷 Kongzi jiyu (Song) 薛據 Xue Ju
奩史 LianshiEncylopaedias and handbooks (Song) 丁升之 Ding Shengzhi
婚禮新編 * Hunli xinbian (Song) 丁升之 Ding Shengzhi
讀書分年日程 三卷 Dushu fennian richeng (Yuan) 程靖禮 Cheng Jingli
辨惑編 四卷 Bianhuobian (Yuan) 謝應芳 Xie Yingfang
郁離子 二卷 * Yulizi (Yuan/Ming) 劉基 Liu Ji
女訓 (內訓) 一卷 Nüxun (Neixun) (Ming) 仁孝文皇后徐氏 Empress Renxiaowen Miss Xu
性理大全 七十卷 Xingli daquan (Ming) 胡廣 Hu Guang
讀書錄 十一卷 Dushulu (Ming) 薛瑄 Xue Xuan
大學衍義補 百六十卷 Daxue yanyi bu (Ming) 丘濬 Qiu Jun
畜德錄 * Chudelu (Ming) 陳沂 Chen Yi
(Qing) 席啓圖 Xu Qitu
居業錄 八卷 Juyelu (Ming) 胡居仁 Hu Juren
困知記 二卷 Kunzhiji (Ming) 羅欽順 Luo Qinshun
格物通 百卷 Gewutong (Ming) 湛若水 Zhen Ruoshui
閨範 * Guifan (Ming) 呂坤 Lü Kun
女範捷錄 * Nüfan jielu (Ming) 劉氏 Ms Liu
女兒經 * Nü'erjing (Ming) NN
婦女雙名記 Funü shuangming jiEncyclopaedias and handbooks (Ming) 李肇亨 Li Zhaoheng
諸儒學案 一卷 (續修) Zhuru xue'an (Ming) 劉元卿 Liu Yuanqing
溫氏母訓 一卷 Wenshi muxun (Ming) 溫以介 Wen Yijie
鄭氏規範 * Zhengshi guifan (Ming) 鄭太和 Zheng Taihe
龐氏家訓 * Pangshi jiaxun (Ming) 龐尚鵬 Pang Shangpeng
家誡要言 一卷 (續修) Jiajie yaoyan (Ming) 吳麟徵 Wu Linzheng
蘇氏家語 * Sushi jiayu (Ming) 蘇士潜 Su Shiqian
焚書 * Fenshu (Ming) 李贄 Li Zhi
噩夢 (續修) Emeng (Qing) 王夫之 Wang Fuzhi
明夷待訪錄 (續修) Mingyi daifang lu (Qing) 黃宗羲 Huang Zongxi
存性編 二卷
存學編 四卷
存治編 一卷
存人編 四卷 (四存編) (續修)
Cunxingbian
Cunxuebian
Cunzhibian
Cunrenbian (Sicunbian)
(Qing) 顔元 Yan Yuan
學規類編 二十七卷 Xuegui leibian (Qing) 張伯行 Zhang Boxing
潛書 (續修) Qianshu (Qing) 唐甄 Tang Zhen
(御定)資政要覽 三卷 (Yuding) Zizheng yaolan (Qing) 清聖祖 Emperor Shengzu; 呂宮 Lü Gong (rev.)
聖諭廣訓 一卷 Shengyu guangxun (Qing) 清聖祖 Emperor Shengzu
聖祖仁皇帝庭訓格言 一卷 (Shengzu Ren Huangdi) Tingxun geyan (Qing) 清世宗 Emperor Shizu
(御纂)性理精義 十二卷 (Yuzuan) Xingli jingyi (Qing) 李光地 Li Guangdi (imp. ord.)
(御纂)朱子全書 六十六卷 (Yuzuan) Zhuzi quanshu (Qing) 清聖祖 Emperor Shengzu (the Kangxi Emperor 康熙)
蔣氏家訓 * Jiangshi jiaxun (Qing) 蔣伊 Jiang Yi
女學 一卷 * Nüxue (Qing) 藍鼎元 Lan Dingyuan
孔子集語 十七卷 (續修) Kongzi jiyu (Qing) 孫星衍 Sun Xingyan
女三字經 * Nü sanzijing (Qing) 朱浩 Zhu Hao, 文星源 Wen Xingyuan
妝史 * Zhuangshi (Qing) 田霡 Tian Mo
宮閨小名錄 Gonggui xiaoming luEncyclopaedias and handbooks (Qing) 尤侗 You Tong
里堂家訓 二卷 (續修) Litang jiaxun (Qing) 焦循 Jiao Xun
五種遺規 十六卷 (續修) Wuzhong yigui (Qing) 陳弘謀 Chen Hongmou (comp.)
大同書 八卷 (續修) Datongshu (Qing) 康有為 Kang Youwei
* not included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, the catalogue Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目題要, nor the Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書.

The oldest surviving book catalogue, the chapter Yiwen zhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書, lists 53 books of "Confucian" masters. The author explains that the ru-ist school (rujia 儒家) was derived from the ancient Western Zhou-period office of the Overseer of the Masses (situ 司徒, see Six Ministries), a post therefore later interpreted as "Minister of Education". The minister "helped the ruler of men to obey Yin and Yang and to clarify instructions" (shun yinyang ming jiaohua 順陰陽明教化). Their writings were related to the Classics, focused on the Confucian virtues kindheartedness and righteousness (ren yi 仁義), took and rulers of old like Yao 堯 and Shun 舜 as their predecessors, felt formally obliged to the kings Wen 周文王 and Wu 周武王 of the Zhou dynasty, and took Confucius (Kongzi 孔子, Zhongni 仲尼, 551-479 BCE) as their primordial teacher.

The list in the Hanshu yiwen zhi includes the texts Yanzi 晏子 (i.e. Yanzi Chunqiu, later classified as a biographical book) by Yan Ying 晏嬰 (578-500 BCE), writings of Confucius' disciples and their successors like Zisi 子思 (Kong Ji 孔伋, 483-402), Zengzi 曾子 (Zeng Shen 曾参, 505-432), Qidiaozi 漆雕子, Mizi 宓子 (Mi Buqi 宓不齊, 521-?), Jingzi 景子 or Shizi 世子 (Shi Shuo 世碩), most of which only fragments survive today. Yet the list also includes the books Gongsun Nizi 公孫尼子, Mengzi 孟子 (not yet a Classic at the time), Sunqingzi 孫卿子 (i.e. Xunzi), and Zhoushi liutao 周史六弢 (which has nothing to do with the military book Liutao). The book Gaozuzhuan 高祖傳 included discussions of Emperor Gaozu 漢高祖 (r. 206-195 BCE) of the Han dynasty 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) with his ministers, for instance Lu Jia, of whom an own book Lu Jia 陸賈 (i.e. Xinyu) survives. Finally, the Hanshu list included several texts of debates on statecraft like Jia Yi 賈誼 (later called Jiazi 賈子, 58 chapters, i.e. Xinshu), Huan Kuan's 桓寬 (early 1st cent. BCE) Yantielun 鹽鐵論, and two collections of prefaces or descriptions to illustrations, one by Liu Xiang 劉向 (79-8 or 77-6 BCE, as a compound book including the texts Xinxu 新序, Shuoyuan 說苑, Shishuo 世說, and Lienüzhuan 列女傳), and one by Yang Xiong 揚雄 (53 BCE-18 CE, including Taixuan[jing] 太玄[經], Fayan 法言, Yue 樂, and Zhen 箴). Even if the Hanshu catalogue does not use the category "masters" (zi 子), the rujia section opens what was later the "masters" category, which followed directly to the Classics, as a category "historiography" (shi 史) did not yet exist during the time.

The catalogue Qilu 七錄 of Ruan Xiaoxu 阮孝緒 (479-536) of which only the chapter titles survive follows this paradigm. The bibliographical chapter Jingji zhi 經籍志 in the history book Suishu 隋書 makes use of the four categories. The "Confucian texts" open the Masters category. The list follows the paradigm of the Hanshu catalogue and adds Han-period texts on statecraft, including Zhuge Liang's 諸葛亮 (181-234) Zhuge Wuhou jijie 諸葛武侯集誡 as "collected admonitions" to state officials. The sub-category closes with books on females, namely Nüpian 女篇, Nüjian 女鑒, Furen xunjie ji 婦人訓誡集, Disi xun 娣姒訓, Cao Dajia nüjie 曹大家女誡 (the only surviving one, known as Nüjie 女誡), and Zhenshunzhi 貞順志. The postface explains that the 62 Confucian texts were the products of masters who supported the "sacred man to bring his instructions" (sheng ren zhi jiao 聖人之教) into each family and household.

The catalogue in the history book Jiutangshu 舊唐書 shows that the pattern of arrangement was upheld, with the ancient Confucian texts in the beginning, followed by political instructions, admonitions by sovereigns to their officialdom, and descriptions for the comportment of the emperor as well as of private persons from the imperial time. To the latter belong the early "family instructions" (jiaxun) and books for females. Quite outstanding are the instructions of Empress Wu Zetian 武則天 (624-705, Dasheng Tianhou 大聖天后) Zishu yaolu 紫樞要錄, Qinggong jiyao 青宮記要, Shaoyang zhengfan 少陽正範, Bailiao xinjie 百僚新誡, and Chengui 臣軌, the only surviving text of these. Other texts of female instructions that have survived are Neixun 內訓 by Xin Deyuan 辛德源 and Wang Shao 王邵, as well as Nüze yaolu 女則要錄 by Empress Wende 文德皇后 (Empress Zhangsun 長孫皇后, 601-636). The bibliography in the Xintangshu 新唐書 includes more texts from the Tang period, most of which are lost today.

The original preface of the first Song-period 宋 (960-1279) catalogue, Chongwen zongmu 宋 (960-1279), says that the Confucian texts were compiled with the aim to explain in a concise and practical way the meaning of the Classics, as it had been interpreted by Confucius.

The catalogue Junzhai dushu zhi 郡齋讀書志 is the first one which includes writings of Neo-Confucian masters, namely Zhou Dunyi's 周敦頤 (1017-1073) Zhouzi tongshu 周子通書, Zhang Zai's 張載 (1020-1077) Zhengmengshu 正蒙書 and Yuqiao wendui 漁樵對問, and Cheng Yi's 程頤 (1033-1107) "miscellaneous teachings" Chengshi zashuo 程氏雜說. At the same time, the book Mengzi and commentaries on were shifted to the Classics category.

Zheng Qiao 鄭樵 (1104-1162), who did not use the four-category system in his bibliography Tongzhi yiwen lüe 通志•藝文略 but a more practical system of categories, nevertheless opens his Masters category with texts on "Confucian skills" (rushu 儒術).

The compilers of the descriptive bibliography Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao defined Confucian texts as writings of persons who "established themselves and were cautious in their conduct" (li shen xing ji 立身行己), took the ancient kings as models, saw their duty in comprehending the Classics and applying their teachings to practice, but who did not dare to call themselves "saints" or "worthies" (sheng xian 聖賢). Wang Tong 王通 (584-618), author of Zhongshuo 中說, revived the teachings of Confucius after centuries of Buddhist and Daoist dominance. Yuan-period 元 (1279-1368) scholars made a distinction between the "forest of Confucians" (rulin 儒林) and master of the Way (daoxue 道學), i.e. Neo-Confucians, which again were divided into two opposing groups, namely the School of the Universal Principle (Cheng-Zhu lixue 程朱理學), and the School of the Mind (Lu-Wang xinxue 陸王心學). At the end of the Ming period 明 (1368-1644), Confucian teachings lost their impetus by factional strife. The compilers of the catalogue decided to keep those writings who strongly defended Confucian principles, and to re-classify those texts as "miscellaneous writings" (zajia 雜家) which showed greater influence of Daoist or Buddhist thought. Yang Xiong's book Taixuanjing, for instance, was de-classified and put into the sub-category of books on divination (shushu 術數).